Sunday, June 24, 2012

Welcome guest, Janet Bolin!



Please welcome our good friend and guest blogger, Janet Bolin, whose very entertaining mystery series: THREADVILLE MYSTERIES, set in the fictional town of Threadville, are some of the most delightful mysteries I've read.


The second in the series, THREADED FOR TROUBLE, debuted this month.  Read an excerpt from her stories by clicking this LINK.  Enjoy!


Take it away, Janet.




My father made every square inch of our garden produce. We had asparagus, rhubarb, red raspberries, peas, and leaf lettuce in the spring, carrots, tomatoes and green beans all summer, and more red raspberries, pears, apples, and Concord grapes in the late summer and into fall. Day after day, my mother filled canning jars with stewed tomatoes, beans, tomato juice, grape juice apple butter, pickles, jams and jellies, and something horrible (everyone else loved it, don’t ask me why) called piccalilli made from ground-up green tomatoes.


These (except for the piccalilli) would be great all winter.


However, in the summer, I found all this cooking ghastly. We didn’t have air conditioning. I went outside and played under trees and dined on popsicles made out of grape juice. It was a tough life . . .

I did, eventually, help with the canning. And I graduated from grape juice to my mother’s iced coffee. As I recall, this is how she made it (except she liked her coffee a lot weaker than I do):


MOTHER'S ICED COFFEE:


Brew strong, dark coffee and stir in cocoa powder and sugar to taste. Freeze into a slush in your freezer. This can be done quickly in a largish pan containing only a thin layer of coffee. Or you might prefer the convenience of an ice cream maker. Spoon slush into a glass, filling it most of the way. Top up with milk. Grate nutmeg over it and serve with a straw.

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Janet's first novel, DIRE THREADS, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First novel, and was also nominated for the Bloody Words Light Mystery Award (the Bony Blithe.) THREADVILLE MYSTERIES are available in stores everywhere.

 Visit Janet at facebook and twitter.

20 comments:

  1. Congrats on the book Janet! Great fun to hear about your mom's garden and canning. do you have a garden now? it's one of our great pleasures (well, except for the bunnies, the wood chuck, the weeds...:)

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  2. Thanks, Lucy. I didn't inherit my father's green thumb and plants usually wither if I so much as look at them. Frowning at weeds does not discourage them. We have bunnies, too. The groundhog fell out of the tree while grabbing mulberries. He was fine (well padded) and went on munching.

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  3. That sounds so yummy. Iam drinking iced coffee right now but i am quite sure it is no where near as good. Iam now off to google to see what piccalilli is

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    1. Lori, my mother's iced coffee was simple to make, and surprisingly cooling on a hot day. There are probably other names for that piccalilli stuff. Green tomato relish? I probably had too much of it and got tired of it. I might like it now.

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  4. That sounds so easy. I love that it an be made quickly by letting a thin layer of coffee freeze. Perfect for leftover morning coffee on hot summer days.

    Hey, no one mentioned that Dire Threads involves one of the most unusual murder weapons ever -- a killer sewing machine!

    Thanks for joining us today, Janet!

    ~ Krista

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    1. What happens to me is that I leave the pan in the freezer too long, then I have to set it out to warm up a bit, then...well, you get the picture. Another way might be to create coffee ice cubes. Or cubed slush? Or coffee sorbet in an electric ice cream maker, which we didn't have in those days. Cleo probably has dozens of recipes for cool coffee drinks! I like being able to make an iced drink with no sugar.

      Actually, Krista, it's Threaded for Trouble where a dream machine becomes a nightmare and a "killer" sewing machine lives up to it's name. Yep, should have mentioned that...

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  5. The slush ice coffee trick sounds great. I'll bet that'd work for tea, too.

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    1. Oooh, Nancy! Iced tea sorbet sounds yummy!

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  6. Janet, thrilled to have you hear and hope you're enjoying a nice slushed iced coffee in this heat wave across America and northward!

    ~Avery aka Daryl

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    1. Thanks Avery aka Daryl. I love visiting MLK, one of my favorite blogs, and your readers are giving me lots of ideas.

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  7. LOL--my husband LOVES piccalilli. So much so, he orders his favorite kind by the case from a Massachusetts company. You should see my pantry.

    Love the slushie iced coffee idea. Yum!

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    1. Heather, I half expect my siblings to come on here and tell everyone how great our mother's picalilli was! I admit it, though--I was a picky eater. Thinking back, I seem to remember it as being too salty and too vinegary. And those vats of the stuff cooking didn't smell all that great, either.

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  8. WOW, I have to say I am jealous of the way you grew up. I inherited my Mom's black thumb, we can't grow house plants, let alone a garden. I would have LOVED to have all that fresh food! The iced coffee sounds divine, I need to try that today! I am looking forward to Threaded For Trouble and hope the series continues on!

    Have a terrific day!

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    1. Thanks, Maureen! Yes, and I'm sure we took all that fresh food for granted and even envied our friends for their store-bought food. Eeek!

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  9. Janet, you bring back childhood memories. I remember making popsicles out of grape juice when I was little. =)

    I enjoyed your first book, "Dire Threads" and cant wait to read
    "Threaded for Trouble" ! great series!

    The vegetables that your family grew in your garden sound wonderful!

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    1. Melissa, we froze grape juice as ice cubes and put a paper towel around them so our fingers wouldn't freeze. Now we can buy plastic popsicle forms that incorporate sticks, and our kids' popsicles don't taste like paper.

      I hope you like Threaded for Trouble.

      The fruits and vegetables my dad grew were wonderful. We may still have one asparagus plant of his that we've transplanted from house to house as we moved... But we also have wild asparagus, so I can't be sure. Whatever, it's delicious.

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  10. My folks had a garden and canned, too. My Mother made the piccalilli with green tomatoes and cabbage and spices! It was great with hamburgers!
    Dee

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    1. Cabbage, Dee, that sounds even worse than what I ate ;) One year at least, my parents made sauerkraut and it was yummy. Maybe I just didn't like mixtures. Fussy, fussy, fussy.

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  11. My grandparents lived in a rowhouse and had a tiny yard, and showed me how much can be done with a small space. Congrats on the new book--sounds intriguing!

    Cheers,
    Kathleen Ernst

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    1. Thanks, Kathleen. I'm amazed by what some people can achieve with their gardening.

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